Uncorked: Yada, yada, yada from the world of wine
Jul 30, 2013 | 2932 views |  0 comments | 31 31 recommendations | email to a friend | print
“Seinfeld,” NBC’s long-running hit sitcom, was allegedly a show about nothing. Similarly, this week’s column is about nothing in particular but a series of things making news in the wine world.

For Downton Abbey fans, we are 158 days from the season four premiere of PBS’s wildly popular series. Just in time for the premiere, a selection of Bordeaux wines inspired by the series is soon to be released. The wines are an homage to British clarets prized by Edwardian upper classes like the fictional Granthams of Downton. Both a red and a white wine will be released. These wines may be purchased individually or in branded gift boxes from online purveyor winesthatrock.com. The British have a long-running love affair with claret, the red wines of Bordeaux. Bordeaux is in closer in proximity to England than any other wine-producing region.

Aside from proximity, the British connection to the region dates to the 12th century when Eleanor of Aquitaine married Henry II and brought the region of Bordeaux and its beloved pale pink wines as part of her dowry. The English court fell in love with these wines, calling them by their French name, clairet, meaning clear.

Originally all Bordeaux wines were clairets, but as winemaking methods improved over the centuries, Bordeaux wines became dark garnet in color because they were left to macerate on dark-skin grapes that today traditionally make up the red wines of Bordeaux. These concentrated dark wines came to be known as clarets.

Unfortunately for Bordeaux, consumers often think of Bordeaux wines as exclusive, pricey, first-growths requiring extensive aging before being consumed by those who live like the people in Downton Abbey.

In fact, Bordeaux is one of the largest wine-growing regions of the world, with hundreds of acres in vines. Wines in all price ranges are produced. Wine.com, America’s No. 1 online wine retailer, just announced the launch of Club Claret offering American consumers inexpensive clarets ready for consumption.

While the Brits love their clarets, the younger French generation is not nearly so passionate as they used to be about wines from their country. French wine consumption is on the decline.

The younger generation has discovered fizzy drinks and fruit juices and drink wine only for occasional celebrations. They have become a cola generation.

In a June column dealing with mixing wine with various juices to make cocktail-type drinks, I mentioned the Kalimotxo, (cal-ee-MO-cho). This drink originated in the Basque region of France and Spain and is made by mixing equal parts of cola and red wine.

Now much to the chagrin of French wine connoisseurs, a French wine company, Haussmann Famille, is bottling the Kalimotxo in a traditional wine bottle with a screw top. Called Rouge Sucette, red lollipop, it is designed to appeal to women and the younger cola generation.

Traditional French winemakers are not crying foul, but rather quel horreur — how horrible — at the thought of their beloved industry becoming vintners of something akin to Arbor Mist fruit-flavored wines.

And back in America, I reported in April that 48 bottles of Mira Winery’s 2009 Napa Cabernet had been sunk in Charleston Harbor on Feb. 20, 2013. These bottles were to remain in the harbor for a period of three months to study the effects of ocean aging on wine sunk to 60 feet pressure depth in 100 percent humidity and zero light.

I am happy to report the sunken wine has been brought ashore and given the name “Aquaoir.” Patrick Emerson, advanced sommelier, is quoted on the winery’s website saying, “There’s some magic that’s happened on the Aquaoir. The primary elements of the fruits — that sort of wonderful blackberry and cassis flavors are intermingled and they are more integrated, the tannins are smoother, and the tannins are sort of more relaxed into the wine.”

Alas, a $500 two-pack containing 2009 Aquaoir and a second bottle of the same wine sans undersea aging sold out. But do not despair, gentle readers, future bottle baptisms are planned.

Contact Pat Kettles at pkettles@annistonstar.com.“Seinfeld,” NBC’s long-running hit sitcom, was allegedly a show about nothing. Similarly, this week’s column is about nothing in particular but a series of things making news in the wine world.

For Downton Abbey fans, we are 158 days from the season four premiere of PBS’s wildly popular series. Just in time for the premiere, a selection of Bordeaux wines inspired by the series is soon to be released. The wines are an homage to British clarets prized by Edwardian upper classes like the fictional Granthams of Downton. Both a red and a white wine will be released. These wines may be purchased individually or in branded gift boxes from online purveyor winesthatrock.com. The British have a long-running love affair with claret, the red wines of Bordeaux. Bordeaux is in closer in proximity to England than any other wine-producing region.

Aside from proximity, the British connection to the region dates to the 12th century when Eleanor of Aquitaine married Henry II and brought the region of Bordeaux and its beloved pale pink wines as part of her dowry. The English court fell in love with these wines, calling them by their French name, clairet, meaning clear.

Originally all Bordeaux wines were clairets, but as winemaking methods improved over the centuries, Bordeaux wines became dark garnet in color because they were left to macerate on dark-skin grapes that today traditionally make up the red wines of Bordeaux. These concentrated dark wines came to be known as clarets.

Unfortunately for Bordeaux, consumers often think of Bordeaux wines as exclusive, pricey, first-growths requiring extensive aging before being consumed by those who live like the people in Downton Abbey.

In fact, Bordeaux is one of the largest wine-growing regions of the world, with hundreds of acres in vines. Wines in all price ranges are produced. Wine.com, America’s No. 1 online wine retailer, just announced the launch of Club Claret offering American consumers inexpensive clarets ready for consumption.

While the Brits love their clarets, the younger French generation is not nearly so passionate as they used to be about wines from their country. French wine consumption is on the decline.

The younger generation has discovered fizzy drinks and fruit juices and drink wine only for occasional celebrations. They have become a cola generation.

In a June column dealing with mixing wine with various juices to make cocktail-type drinks, I mentioned the Kalimotxo, (cal-ee-MO-cho). This drink originated in the Basque region of France and Spain and is made by mixing equal parts of cola and red wine.

Now much to the chagrin of French wine connoisseurs, a French wine company, Haussmann Famille, is bottling the Kalimotxo in a traditional wine bottle with a screw top. Called Rouge Sucette, red lollipop, it is designed to appeal to women and the younger cola generation.

Traditional French winemakers are not crying foul, but rather quel horreur — how horrible — at the thought of their beloved industry becoming vintners of something akin to Arbor Mist fruit-flavored wines.

And back in America, I reported in April that 48 bottles of Mira Winery’s 2009 Napa Cabernet had been sunk in Charleston Harbor on Feb. 20, 2013. These bottles were to remain in the harbor for a period of three months to study the effects of ocean aging on wine sunk to 60 feet pressure depth in 100 percent humidity and zero light.

I am happy to report the sunken wine has been brought ashore and given the name “Aquaoir.” Patrick Emerson, advanced sommelier, is quoted on the winery’s website saying, “There’s some magic that’s happened on the Aquaoir. The primary elements of the fruits — that sort of wonderful blackberry and cassis flavors are intermingled and they are more integrated, the tannins are smoother, and the tannins are sort of more relaxed into the wine.”

Alas, a $500 two-pack containing 2009 Aquaoir and a second bottle of the same wine sans undersea aging sold out. But do not despair, gentle readers, future bottle baptisms are planned.

Contact Pat Kettles at pkettles@annistonstar.com.
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